short-tailed aphideater

(Eupeodes pomus)

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked


not listed

short-tailed aphideater
Photo by Alfredo Colon

Short-tailed aphideater is a small, wasp-mimic, hover fly. It occurs in the United States and southern Canada east of the Great Plains. The larvae feed on aphids. Adults are found from mid-May to late October both in forests and in open habitats. They feed on flower nectar.

Adults are ¼ to ½ (6.8 to 12.0 mm) long. Females of this species cannot be distinguished from Eupeodes fumipennis and E. americanus.

The head is wider than the thorax. There are two large compound eyes on the sides of the head and three small simple eyes (ocelli) in a triangle on top of the head. The compound eyes are bare, with no erect hairs. On the male they meet at the top of the head. On the female they do not. The face is mostly yellow but has a brown stripe in the middle. The stripe may be broad and distinct or narrow and obscure. There are also two semicircular, pale brown to black spots above the bases of the antennae. The cheek is usually entirely yellow, rarely brownish toward the front and rear. The protruding mouthpart (proboscis) is short and fleshy. The antennae are short and have just three segments. On the third segment there is a stiff, forward-pointing bristle (arista).

The thorax is large, shiny, and black. It is covered with short, erect, yellow hairs, densely on the sides, sparsely above. The exoskeletal plate between the abdomen and thorax (scutellum) is large, rounded, dull yellow, and translucent. It is covered with pale yellow hairs above and has a moderately dense fringe on the rear margin.

The abdomen is longer and broader than the thorax, oval when viewed from above, and nearly flat when viewed from the side. It is black with bright yellow markings. There are five visible segments. On the male, segment 1 is very narrow and entirely black. Segment 2 has a pair of large spots that almost reach the lateral margins. On most individuals the spots are distinctly separated in the middle. On some individuals, they meet in the middle. Segments 3 and 4 each have a broad yellow band that does not quite reach the lateral margins. The forward margin of the band is nearly straight, the rear margin is nearly straight or shallowly concave in the middle. Segment 4 has a broad stripe on the rear margin. Segment 5 is yellow with a narrow black band. On the male the claspers on the genitalia are short.

The legs are mostly yellowish-orange. The first segment of each leg (coxa) is black. The base of the third segment (femur) of the front and middle legs is brown to black. The femur on the hind leg is slender, not thickened, and is brown to black on the basal half to basal four-fifths. On each leg the fourth segment (tibia) and the last part of the leg (tarsus), corresponding to the foot, are often brownish.

The wings are clear and are mostly covered with short erect hairs. The lobe attached to the base of the wing (alula) is broad and is itself wing-like. The inner third of the alula is bare, with no hairs. There is a spurious vein between the radius (R) and media (M) veins. The anal cell is long and is closed near the wing margin. The marginal, R5, and M2 cells are also closed. The R4+5 vein is nearly straight.



Total length: ¼ to ½ (6.8 to 12.0 mm)


Similar Species

American hover fly (Eupeodes americanus) adult male surstyli are long and twisted, but they are otherwise identical. Females are indistinguishable.


Forests and open habitats



Two generations per year: Mid-May to late October





Life Cycle



Larva Food



Adult Food

Flower nectar


Distribution Map



24, 29, 30, 82, 83.






Diptera (flies)










Syrphidae (hover flies)


Syrphinae (typical hover flies)




Eupeodes (aphideaters)



no rank

Eupeodes americanus complex (long-tailed aphideater complex)


Subordinate Taxa




Syrphus americanus var pomus

Syrphus americanus var. vinelandi

Syrphus pomus

Syrphus vinelandi


Common Names

short-tailed aphideater









A broad lobe at the base of the wing of some flies and beetles.



A large bristle on the upper side of the third segment of the antenna of a fly.



On insects and arachnids, the third, largest, most robust segment of the leg, coming immediately before the tibia. On humans, the thigh bone.



Simple eye; an eye with a single lens. Plural: ocelli.



The tube-like protruding mouthpart(s) of a sucking insect.



The exoskeletal plate covering the rearward (posterior) part of the middle segment of the thorax in some insects. In Coleoptera, Hemiptera, and Homoptera, the dorsal, often triangular plate behind the pronotum and between the bases of the front wings. In Diptera, the exoskeletal plate between the abdomen and the thorax.


Spurious vein

A longitudinal, thickened line between the radius and media veins. It resembles a true vein but is not connected to any other veins.



On insects, the last two to five subdivisions of the leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. On spiders, the last segment of the leg. Plural: tarsi.



The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot). The fifth segment of a spider leg or palp.






Visitor Photos

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short-tailed aphideater and oleander aphid  


Found on common milkweed at our home, with an abundance of orange aphids.



Alfredo Colon

short-tailed aphideater  

short-tailed aphideater and oleander aphid Photos











Visitor Videos

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Other Videos

Short-tailed Aphideater larva eating aphids (Eupeodes pomus)


Sep 1, 2018

Hoverfly or Syrphid fly larva eating aphids from milkweed plant. Skip to 1:10

Identified as a Short-tailed Aphideater (Eupeodes pomus) here:



Visitor Sightings

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Location: Rochester, MN

Found on common milkweed at our home, with an abundance of orange aphids.

short-tailed aphideater and oleander aphid
Alfredo Colon

Location: Woodbury, MN

short-tailed aphideater and oleander aphid

Alfredo Colon

Location: Woodbury, MN

short-tailed aphideater Sightings






Created: 10/10/2021

Last Updated:

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